Why should I support VLB programs?
Alabama is the 6th poorest state in the nation, yet it is one of only three states that does not fund civil legal aid. In Birmingham, where we are located, 29.4% of residents experience poverty. Without access to legal representation, these disparities will continue to mount. While VLB utilizes attorney volunteers to address the legal needs of our clients, our staff is of paramount importance in ensuring quality service to the community.
A study commissioned by the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation (ACJF) determined that Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham’s services “would be less available and less efficient” without our operations. Additionally, the study found that the VLB staff “provides the necessary infrastructure, including attorney recruitment, training, recognition, client screening, administrative support, technical assistance, and follow-up services for clients and pro bono volunteers.”
Where does my donation go?
Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham’s mission is to provide access to justice through pro bono legal work. VLB focuses on four service areas for our clients: Safe Housing, Safe Finances, Safe Families, and Serving Veterans. Each month, VLB serves clients at 20 court-based Birmingham Help Desks (Civil, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Homeless, and Veterans), one neighborhood-based Help Desk (Woodlawn), and two court-based dockets (Turning Point Court, a special court for homeless clients; and Domestic Relations Low-Income Court).
VLB also operates an Extended Representation Program for clients whose legal issues cannot be solved through a one-time appointment at a Help Desk. Your donation allows VLB to continue providing these services and to support a staff of attorneys who oversee and improve our many programs.
VLB served over 3,500 clients last year at our Help Desks and through the Extended Representation Program.
How does my donation make a difference?
Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham served over 3,000 clients per year in 2017 and 2018. In each year, over 500 attorney volunteers donated 4,500 hours of their time, which equates to approximately $1 million in free legal aid.
A study commissioned by the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation (ACJF) in 2018 found that Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham’s Social Return on Investment (SROI) is $12.13. This means that for every $1 invested in Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham, the Birmingham community receives approximately $12.13 of immediate and long-term financial benefits. These long term-values include:
- Multiple year income from Social Security and/or Disability benefits that were previously denied, terminated, or reduced
- Long-term savings on children’s medical and other support costs resulting from modifications to child support payments
- Providing Wills and Estate services to low-income elderly residents
- Significant savings on costs for emergency housing and family assistance resulting from enforcement of landlord/tenant law
- Cost savings and benefits resulting from other legal aid services available to qualified low-income individuals and families
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Any donations to Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham are tax deductible, and we are happy to provide you with a tax receipt for cash or check donations. You will receive a receipt automatically if you donate online.
Who benefits from my donation?
Your donation benefits struggling members of the Greater Birmingham community with civil and domestic legal issues. In 2018, Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham assisted over 3,500 clients. Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham is committed to providing excellent service to our clients, and your donation helps with every step of the process.
In order to qualify for VLB’s services, clients must fall at or below 125% of the federal poverty level. This usually equates to an annual income of approximately $14,000 or less for an individual or a household income of $30,000 or less for a family of four. VLB waives the income requirement for victims of domestic violence.